Cove teen holds 3rd annual Kick-a-thon

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press 

For the third year in a row, dozens of martial artists showed up to show off their skills to raise money to fight cancer during the 3rd annual Kick Cancer’s Butt Kick-a-thon at Candy Outfitters Saturday. 
Copperas Cove High School freshman Ariel Draper, 14, started the event with the purpose of raising money to help the wife of House of Discipline Grand Master James McMurray, after Linda McMurray was diagnosed with cancer for a third time. 
“I felt so horrible not being able to do anything, so I decided I’d try and pay her medical bills or help her pay for them,” Draper said. 
For $1, people had three chances to kick “Bob”, a body opponent bag dressed in a Kick-a-thon shirt with a pink target on the front. For $10, participants could enter a roundhouse kicking contest to see who could kick the most in one minute. 
Inside Candy Outfitters, there was a container collecting donations. Additionally, Candy Outfitters donated 40 percent of all their cash sales from Saturday to the fundraiser with an optional 20 percent discount for customers and 20 percent going to the Kick-a-thon. Customers could opt out of the discount, allowing the fundraiser to receive the full 40 percent. This is standard for any fundraiser held at Candy Outfitters, according to owner Jennifer White. 
Throughout the all-day event, House of Discipline, Legacy Martial Arts, Self Defense America, Master Ead’s US Taekwando and MMA and Universal Martial Arts Club held demonstrations. Martial Zen offered kids the opportunity to decorate their own wooden board and break it using a hammer fist. 
There were also several items available through a silent auction including a blanket made by Draper’s grandmother and gift cards to Applebee’s, Waffle Cone, Giovanni’s and A&L Florist. 
The first year, the event raised $1500. The second year, the event benefitted St. Jude’s and raised approximately $950. This year, all proceeds raised will go to the Pink Warrior Angels of Texas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those who have been diagnosed with cancer. The organization, founded by Julie Moser, provides financial and emotional support, giving approximately $4,000 per month to cancer patients to help with everyday needs as they go through their diagnosis and treatment. 
Moser said that it meant a lot for her organization to be chosen as the recipient of the money raised. 
“Anytime any community member, friend, nonfriend, friend of a friend that wants to do something for us, it’s very humbling because we have to go out and ask for money and grants because that’s how we run as an organization,” Moser said. 
Moser shared that over the five years since the organization was founded, the struggle of getting the word out about what they do has changed. 
“Now it’s ‘Hey, how do we get involved? How can we help you?’, without even asking,” Moser said. “So it means a lot to us, because phenomenal people like Ariel to do stuff like this is just amazing.”
The money raised will go towards helping offset the cost of chemo care kits, which cost the organization about $30 per kit to make and are full of items that are fragrance-free, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free and are good quality products.  It will also help with the cost of buying material used to make heart-shaped pillows to be used after a mastectomy, Moser said. 
Moser said that the event itself showed how the community of Copperas Cove supports each other. 
“The money, the items that she even got for silent auction, that just shows you even more the community supporting her to support us,” Moser said. “The network of circle is powerful, and that’s what we need.” 

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